Rebecca Wendt, MD, a family practice physician, and her husband, Luke Stowers, MD, were thrilled to expand their family and welcome their second son.

Then, at 22 weeks gestation in the summer of 2023, the Stowers family received the critical diagnosis of anhydramnios (no amniotic fluid) and early rupture of membranes.

They were scared, overwhelmed and unsure of what the future held. As they were trying to grasp their new reality, they received a call that would impact the entire course of their care journey and lead to an incredible bond.

Rebecca and Nathan preparing to leave the NICU

The call was from Lori Boarman, RNC, the Colorado Region Perinatal Nurse Navigator at Envision.

“I normally try to meet the mothers in person, but everything was happening so fast for Rebecca, and I wanted her to know that I was there and ready to support her and her family,” Lori said.

Shortly after, Rebecca went into triage at the Colorado Springs hospital, and Lori was by her side for the ultrasound.

“That’s when I was like, ‘Oh, you’re here; you’re really a part of this,’” Rebecca said. “It was a really cool and unique experience. I couldn’t have anticipated how supportive Lori would be.”

After being admitted at 25 weeks gestation, the family navigated a 58-day antepartum and 71-day neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stay. Each time Lori visited, she shared her clinical expertise, cheerful smile and kind words of encouragement.

It has been more than seven months since Nathan was born at 33 weeks, at 3 pounds, 13 ounces and 16.14 inches. Happily, the family has settled in and is enjoying watching him flourish.

Stowers family

Lori continues to check on them and provide support.

“For her to be that friend to me has been invaluable.”

For the Stowers family, Lori was much more than a clinician. She was their champion and someone they could confide in and lean on for emotional support.

“She would sit and talk to me on harder days. She was someone to vent to when I was scared, frustrated and sad. And when I didn’t want to talk about myself, I would ask her to tell me about herself.”

“That was one of my most important roles for them,” Lori said. “It was so important to give them a safe space to process everything and remind them that they’re parents first and physicians second.”

In addition, Lori introduced Rebecca to a mentor mom through the PNN Mentor Mom Program and gifted her a needlepoint kit on behalf of another mom.

As a PNN, Lori said her responsibility is to fill in gaps, connect families to hospital and community resources, and be an emotional support and advocate for patients throughout their journey. Having been a NICU nurse for 25 years, she understands the unique clinical needs of families and pays close attention to the small details, so patients have as seamless of an experience as possible.

Rebecca Wendt and Perinatal Nurse Navigator Lori Boarman

Lori’s services are wide-ranging and included facilitating consultations with the Envision neonatologist and other specialists, arranging hospital tours, attending maternal-fetal medicine appointments and creating a care plan based on the family’s intervention preferences for the labor and delivery and NICU teams.

“Her role was clear and supportive in the hospital, and she still goes above and beyond.”

The Stowers family is forever grateful for Lori and the care she provided. They continue to keep her updated on Nathan’s progress.

“There’s something so special about that relationship when you walk through it with someone for so many weeks and they trust you. I’m so honored to be a part of that.”